Posts

A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly 2020-04-28T07:44:52.440Z · score: 5 (3 votes)
MakoYass's Shortform 2020-04-19T00:12:46.448Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
Being right isn't enough. Confidence is very important. 2020-04-07T01:10:52.517Z · score: 12 (5 votes)
Thoughts about Dr Stone and Mythology 2020-02-25T01:51:29.519Z · score: 18 (11 votes)
When would an agent do something different as a result of believing the many worlds theory? 2019-12-15T01:02:40.952Z · score: 12 (6 votes)
What do the Charter Cities Institute likely mean when they refer to long term problems with the use of eminent domain? 2019-12-08T00:53:44.933Z · score: 7 (2 votes)
Mako's Notes from Skeptoid's 13 Hour 13th Birthday Stream 2019-10-06T09:43:32.464Z · score: 6 (2 votes)
The Transparent Society: A radical transformation that we should probably undergo 2019-09-03T02:27:21.498Z · score: 8 (6 votes)
Lana Wachowski is doing a new Matrix movie 2019-08-21T00:47:40.521Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
Prokaryote Multiverse. An argument that potential simulators do not have significantly more complex physics than ours 2019-08-18T04:22:53.879Z · score: -1 (8 votes)
Can we really prevent all warming for less than 10B$ with the mostly side-effect free geoengineering technique of Marine Cloud Brightening? 2019-08-05T00:12:14.630Z · score: 83 (50 votes)
Will autonomous cars be more economical/efficient as shared urban transit than busses or trains, and by how much? What's some good research on this? 2019-07-31T00:16:59.415Z · score: 10 (5 votes)
If I knew how to make an omohundru optimizer, would I be able to do anything good with that knowledge? 2019-07-12T01:40:48.999Z · score: 5 (3 votes)
In physical eschatology, is Aestivation a sound strategy? 2019-06-17T07:27:31.527Z · score: 18 (5 votes)
Scrying for outcomes where the problem of deepfakes has been solved 2019-04-15T04:45:18.558Z · score: 28 (15 votes)
I found a wild explanation for two big anomalies in metaphysics then became very doubtful of it 2019-04-01T03:19:44.080Z · score: 20 (7 votes)
Is there a.. more exact.. way of scoring a predictor's calibration? 2019-01-16T08:19:15.744Z · score: 22 (4 votes)
The Mirror Chamber: A short story exploring the anthropic measure function and why it can matter 2019-01-11T22:26:29.887Z · score: 18 (7 votes)
The end of public transportation. The future of public transportation. 2018-02-09T21:51:16.080Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
Principia Compat. The potential Importance of Multiverse Theory 2016-02-02T04:22:06.876Z · score: 0 (14 votes)

Comments

Comment by makoyass on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-07-04T02:06:59.437Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good comment, but... Have you read Three Worlds Collide? If you were in a situation similar to what it describes, would you still be calling your position moral realism?

I am not out to attack the position that humans fundamentally, generally align with humans. I don't yet agree with it, its claim, "every moral question has a single true answer" might turn out to be a confused paraphrasing of "every war has a victor", but I'm open to the possibility that it's meaningfully true as well.

Comment by makoyass on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-07-03T04:42:10.507Z · score: -4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It might generally be Moral Realism (anti-moral-relativism). The notion that morality is some universal objective truth that we gradually uncover more of as we grow wiser. That's how those people usually conceive it.

I sometimes call it anti-orthogonalism.

Comment by makoyass on What are your greatest one-shot life improvements? · 2020-05-23T03:54:05.615Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The next level is presumably, resuming offloading only the emotions for which sharing the processing work is beneficial (shockingly few qualify though)

Comment by makoyass on Movable Housing for Scalable Cities · 2020-05-20T07:52:44.676Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd repeat my reply from steemit mentioning the startup Kasita, who were attempting to make relatively small quite delightful movable apartments around that time, but they have since gone defunct, so I'll just say, that was a thing, too bad, hopefully the next contender can reach out to them and learn some things.

Comment by makoyass on Against strong bayesianism · 2020-05-02T02:01:03.824Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not at all? It is metaphysics.

Comment by makoyass on Against strong bayesianism · 2020-05-01T11:08:25.374Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been looking for a word for the community of people who are good at identifying precise, robust, extremely clarifying conceptual frameworks. It seems like a very tight cluster that will grow increasingly defined and self-actualised. "Bayesian" seemed like the best fit for a name. Would you object to that?

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-30T03:09:40.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Though I don't especially disbelieve it, it would be helpful if you could tell some stories about how and why various platforms would been likely to be killed by (a decent implementation of!) pricing precommitment?

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-30T01:46:52.883Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mm I guess they fail as examples (I am generally bad at coming up with examples of things though)

I think in that case the price commitment would apply to Amazon's (average?) markup, not individual product listing prices.

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-29T03:58:27.776Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Reasons within the genre of "capitalism is failing to adhere to capitalist virtues and that is good, because we are living in a very specific political reality where peoples' interests are best served by, channelling power towards illegible, fairly unaccountable people who make things"

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-29T02:37:09.094Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is not the price decrease, the price decrease usually doesn't play out. Relatedly, self-determined price commitments aren't intended to prevent the price decrease that render competition non-viable, they would force it to happen.


The problem is the optionality of the price decrease. Situations where the incumbent can afford to reduce prices in order to disincent the creation of cheaper alternatives, the threat works, and so no cheaper alternatives arise, and so they don't.

So the proposal is to take away just the optionality of it. They can do whatever they want, but they must commit to it now, and being the market leaders, I think they often will have enough foresight that they can totally afford to do that. If they don't, maybe we'd all be better off if they weren't the market leaders!


I don't really see the story of Blender as a positive one. Afaik they only started receiving really adequate funding and industry adoption very recently, for the longest time being a fan of blender was kind of depressing, the industry mostly failed (and is probably still failing) to adequately reward its hero. self-determined price commitments would have resulted either in the emergence of a cheaper commercial competitor to maya or faster price decreases from them.

In the former case, Maya might have failed to anticipate competition and been driven bankrupt when it emerged. Whether that's terrible or not might depend mainly on how gracefully we can manage bankruptcy.. for physical assets they simply move into the hands of new owners, for digital assets I guess it must be more destructive, I imagine the fallout would hurt a lot of their customers?

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-28T09:40:40.888Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

They wont have to go below break-even to crush the competition due to the additional benefits of scale; there are things the incumbent will be able to afford to do that an upstart couldn't.


By what mechanism do you decide who runs the government-owned monopoly-prone productions, and why shouldn't it be a (bidding?) market with price commitments.

Whenever you propose a state-run alternative, you need to think about how they reliably hire competent people to run them. Can they ever really beat a mechanism that allows unknowns to step up and depose the incumbent the moment they can demonstrate that they can provide a more desirable product at a competitive price, because that seems like a pretty cool feature to me.

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-28T08:18:45.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

An argument should probably made that reducing the profitability of tech even in the direction of fairness is bad, for anticapitalist realpolitik technocrat reasons. I'm not making that argument, but someone probably should.

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-28T08:16:53.190Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm

Finally as at the EU level, a number of national competition authorities in Europe have been able to end investigations one excessive prices by receiving price commitments from the dominant firms investigated... [London Stock Exchange in 2004, Enel, Italian electricity incumbent in 2010, E.On regional gas suppliers in 2008

Is this the same kind of price commitment, I wonder? They sound like the kind of industries where there can't be competition even given all fairness, so probably not, probably the prices committed to were not self-determined. Not so exciting.

Comment by makoyass on A speculative incentive design: self-determined price commitments as a way of averting monopoly · 2020-04-28T07:55:42.504Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm wondering if we can put more degrees of freedom in the conditions under which price commitment applies, meaning. I imagine this process being initiated by the market instead of being enforced on whatever arbitrarily defined category of product matches what we currently think it should apply to.

I feel like there is some dialogue between two honour-bound champions of industry that would lead to the incumbent being obligated to commit to a future price, simply as a result of answering questions and being held to their word. Probably involves some kind of wager somewhere.

Comment by makoyass on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2020-04-19T02:55:41.393Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Serious in that I mean he might, I'd say, 0.1 that he'd be interested, but if that's not negligible, I think if he took it up he'd be very good at it. I'll ask him.

Comment by makoyass on Jimrandomh's Shortform · 2020-04-19T01:20:01.091Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wearing a surgical mask, I get the sense it tends to form more of a seal when inhaling, less when exhaling. (like a valve). If this is common, it would be a point in favour of having the healthy person wear them.

Comment by makoyass on NaiveTortoise's Short Form Feed · 2020-04-19T00:25:09.646Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have a friend who might be into programming speedrunning https://merveilles.town/@cancel/104005117320841920

Comment by makoyass on Jimrandomh's Shortform · 2020-04-19T00:21:04.778Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know there's only one lab in china studying these viruses?

Comment by makoyass on Dagon's Shortform · 2020-04-19T00:16:33.002Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I agree that there's no objectively true universal value aggregation process, but if you can't find (a method for finding) very broad value aggregation system, then you can't have peace. You have peace insofar as factions accept the rulings of the system. Simply giving up on the utilitarian project is not really an option.

Comment by makoyass on MakoYass's Shortform · 2020-04-19T00:12:47.679Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Considering doing a post about how it is possible the Society for Cryobiology might be wrong about Cryonics, it would have something to do with the fact that at least until recently, no cryobiologist who was seriously interested in cryonics was allowed to be a member,

but I'm not sure... their current position statement is essentially "it is outside the purview of the Society for Cryobiology", which, if sincere, would have to mean that the beef is over?

( statement is https://www.societyforcryobiology.org/assets/documents/Position_Statement_Cryonics_Nov_18.pdf )

Comment by makoyass on The Unilateralist’s “Curse” Is Mostly Good · 2020-04-16T00:20:10.414Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The author's agency doesn't dominate the effects so much, I think, there are many people who have to agree before a piece of writing can do anything. Nothing propagates or gets read without the consent of an audience, to the extent that popular texts often just articulate sentiments that're already endemic.

Comment by makoyass on The Unilateralist’s “Curse” Is Mostly Good · 2020-04-14T09:28:14.696Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Aye, technology seems to be growing more inclined to have global irreversible effects over time (the use of fossil fuels -> nukes (but fortunately never applied) -> microplastics (already pervading every ecosystem) -> additive manufacturing (a physical build can spread as fast as a piece of data), transgenic organisms might be in there somewhere.), so the unilateralist curse must be warded more strongly as time goes on.

Comment by makoyass on I Will Pay $500 To Anyone Who Can Convince Me To Cancel My Cryonics Subscription · 2020-04-14T05:21:20.827Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if the really heaviest claims cryonics makes are mostly split between civics (questions like can an operation keep running long enough, will there always be people who care about reviving the stiffs) and partially in computer science (can the information needed be recovered from what remains), and the questions that are in the domain neuroscience (what biochemical information is important) might be legible enough to people outside of the field that neuroscientists don't end up being closer to the truth? I wouldn't say so, judging by the difficulties the openworm project is having in figuring out which information is important, but it's conceivable a time will come when it falls this way.

This is making me wonder how often people assume a question resides exclusively in one field when it's split between a number of fields in such a way that a majority of the experts in the one assumed focal field don't tend to be right about it.

Comment by makoyass on Being right isn't enough. Confidence is very important. · 2020-04-07T23:14:52.563Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It seems relevant to that, I guess.

I was considering discussing that. It seems to me that the common image of confidence is just the appearance that results from having a lot of epistemic confidence (about the things we're usually interacting with). I think the contemporary understanding of the word is probably just confusion, it will wash away when people learn what the real underlying thing is.

Comment by makoyass on The Origin of Consciousness Reading Companion, Part 1 · 2020-04-06T23:18:05.607Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I look forward to seeing attentive scrutiny turned to the later chapters, the claims of evidence of shocking historical neurodiversity. When people criticise the book, they're usually talking about the first few chapters, to me that is not half as interesting as the claims about the strata of the human mind. If deliberative thought really has only been relatively recently evolved and then shunted (by further evolution? Or by a rapidly spreading global psycholinguistic monoculture?) into a unified self-transparent system, that would explain a lot of things.

Comment by makoyass on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-14T00:51:12.720Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It had not occurred to me that there were any obvious companies a person could invest in to benefit from (and contribute to and accelerate) the response to the pandemic, but https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yuyvosHTgjDR4giPZ/why-don-t-singularitarians-bet-on-the-creation-of-agi-by mentions the videoconferencing software Zoom. It does seem to be the best videoconferencing software, from what I've heard. It's rare that I've ever had an international internet call from new zealand as stable as the ones I had on Zoom.

Any other industries a person could invest in? Food delivery, perhaps? In NZ I've been seeing lots of posters and qr codes in restaurants for a chinese service called Gogo, though if it's based in china we probably can't buy any of it.

Comment by makoyass on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-11T22:52:52.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
Since a tulpa doesn't get its own hardware, it seems likely that hosting one would degrade my original performance. Everyone says this doesn't happen, but I think it'd be very difficult to detect this, especially for someone who isn't already trained in rationality.

I think you might be overlooking something here. I get the impression a lot of thought is consciously directed, and also that a lot of people probably don't... diversify their workload enough to make full use of their resources. IIRC, we can measure a person's caloric efficiency, and people consume more when doing difficult intellectual work. We evolved to conserve energy by not constantly being in that mode, but we no longer have to conserve energy like that, food is cheap. Having more than one locus of consciousness might just result in more useful work overall being done.

In myself, I do get the impression that sometimes nothing useful is really happening in the background. I can consciously start useful cogitation, but I have to focus on it, and I'm easily distracted. This is pretty crap. If there's a way I can get those resources put to something useful (IE, by creating tulpas with a personal focus on solving interesting design problems), I'd want to do it. In the least, it would be really nice if I could navigate traffic or talk to a friend without forgetting completely ceasing all creative cogitation. It would be nice if there were a part of me that always cared and was always pushing it forward.

Even though I haven't been thinking about this from a perspective of tulpamancy or IFS at all, I think I might be part of the way there already, I find I frequently get served ideas completely unrelated to what I'm doing in the moment. This process might be more efficient if I were more accepting of a stronger division between the outward-facing consciousness and the inner problemsolver. The more entangled we demand those processes be, the more they are going to trip each other up. The less parallel they can be.

An informed approach might involve identifying the aspects of thought that can bear concurrent processes, the parts that can't, and designing the division around that.

Comment by makoyass on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-11T22:23:01.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think Kermit is a very understandable choice once you've heard him talk about his, imo, quite compelling position on the merits of faith and belief.

Comment by makoyass on How effective are tulpas? · 2020-03-11T22:15:43.238Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Have you written more about what a good IFS partitioning might look like, in your view? Illustrate an example?

Comment by makoyass on Magic Brain Juice · 2020-03-10T02:51:24.237Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

An aside, some might be interested to know that the story of the two wolves was invented by a white man and runs against most tribes' notion of goodness and badness https://crossingenres.com/you-know-that-charming-story-about-the-two-wolves-its-a-lie-d0d93ea4ebff. You don't present it as an Indian story, but it's hard to hear the story and imagine that that grandpa is an old timey european, talking about good wolves. Europeans historically have not tended to believe in good wolves, or, in the least, they always call those "dogs". This extended to indian dogs, which were visually indistinguishable from, and probably genetically indistinguishable from wolves, but when europeans encountered them they could not bring themselves to call them wolves, for clearly they were sociable and well behaved, and wolves could be no such thing.

Comment by makoyass on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-02-28T21:53:51.320Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The other other Scott A

Comment by makoyass on Can we really prevent all warming for less than 10B$ with the mostly side-effect free geoengineering technique of Marine Cloud Brightening? · 2020-02-26T23:10:56.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No need for him to contact me, better if he came and left a comment here (I'd also be happy to email him and relay the comment)

(sorry for taking over a month to reply)

Comment by makoyass on Thoughts about Dr Stone and Mythology · 2020-02-26T22:39:11.119Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think we should consider looking at indigenous stories, I've heard that a lot of them encode genuinely useful knowledge about ecosystems, this can be a bit hard to discern from the outside (if you don't live in the old ways in the old ecosystems you wont understand the myths), and colonisation is often so brutal that the connection is lastingly obscured, the ecosystem knowledge is lost and by the time the survivors are ready to return to their roots, the connection is lost, the myths are dead, don't mean what they used to, don't serve a purpose in the new world. Some peoples recognise this and try to start remaking their myths (per my recommendation), but it's hard to tell how the new myths reflect the old ones.

Something I worry about is that a lot of things that qualified as entertainment to the ancients aren't recognisable as entertainment to me. I could potentially be very confused by that. Was it really funny or insightful given the right cultural background, or were the audience just starved for novelty and willing to accept the bare minimum amount of wit? Was it a tacit metaphor for something or were they just amused by the idea of a literal talking fox?

Comment by makoyass on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-02-26T22:26:41.025Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How do you calculate logical correlation? Do we know anything about how this would work under UDT? Does UDT not really discuss it, or is it bad at it?

Comment by makoyass on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-02-26T22:16:04.967Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I feel about partial correlation the way I used to feel about the categorical imperative in general; I don't think our formalisations discuss it well at all. However. I know that the CDT way is wrong and I need a name for whatever the better way is supposed to be. What would you recommend. "Newcomblike reasoning"?

Comment by makoyass on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-02-26T07:01:29.154Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That may be true, but it is not a product of the general public not knowing UDT. A large number of people don't think or act in a CDT way either, and a lot of people that don't care for decision theory follow the categorical imperative.

Comment by makoyass on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-02-26T06:57:59.018Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with avturchin, it's an appropriate thought to be having. UDT-like reasoning is actually fairly common in populations that have not been tainted with CDT rationality (IE, normal people) (usually it is written off by cdt rationalists as moralising or collectivism). This line of thinking doesn't require exact equivalence, the fact that there are many other people telling many other communities to prep is enough that all of those communities should consider the aggregate effects of that reasoning process. They are all capable of saying "what if everyone else did this as well? Wouldn't it be bad? Should we really do it?"

Comment by makoyass on Information hazards: Why you should care and what you can do · 2020-02-25T04:47:42.335Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
Decrease the likelihood of others developing and/or sharing the information

Promote ideas that make the information hazard seem ridiculous or uninteresting. An example that may or may not be happening is the US government enabling stories of extraterrestrial origin to hide the possibility that they have unreasonably advanced aerospace technology, materially, by encasing it in dumb glowy saucer stuff that doesn't make any sense. (a probably fictional example is good because if someone was smart enough and motivated enough to hide something like this, I probably wouldn't want to tell people about it (if this turns out not to be fictional, USgovt, I'm very sorry, we haven't thought enough about this to understand why you'd want to hide it.))

If the information hazard concerned is going to be around for a long time, you might want to consider constructing an ideological structure that systematically hides the information hazard, under which the only people who get anywhere near questioning enough of their assumptions to find the information hazard also tend to be responsible enough to take it, and where the spread of the information hazard is universally limited. Cease speaking the words that make it articulable. It should be noted, this wont look, from the inside, like a conspiracy. There will not be a single refutation of the idea, under this ideology, because no one would think to write it. It will just seem naturally difficult for most people living under it to notice how the idea might ever be important.

Comment by makoyass on Greg Egan disses stand-ins for Overcoming Bias, SIAI in new book · 2020-02-25T01:12:50.124Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what use "biggest fan" would have as a term, if it meant that. We would rarely ever want to look at or talk about the biggest fans of almost anything. To like something more than anyone else, you have to be weird. Per The Winner's Curse, to get to the top, they'll usually need to have made a mistake somewhere in their estimation of it, to like it a bit more than anyone should.

Perhaps if "fandom" should come to mean "understanding". You do have to like something quite a bit to come to understand it very well (though many will claim to understand a thing they dislike better than the people who like it, they are generally recognisably wrong)

Comment by makoyass on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-02-18T23:46:52.768Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
Scott Anderson

Can I infer via nominative determinism that Scott Anderson is a friend of the rationalist community?

Comment by makoyass on Litany Against Anger · 2020-01-26T00:55:51.715Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Unlike the thing the litany of gendlin addresses, anger is sometimes warranted. I think this calls for a different approach.

Anger is for punishing violations of moral codes. Did the subject of my anger really know my code?

We live in a big world. There are many different moral codes trying to coexist. I don't know every code. Some of them don't have names or signifiers. Was the subject of my anger following their own code?

If different codes conflict, that calls for a very sophisticated response.

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-23T03:43:52.776Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Why aren't there Knowers of Character who Investigate all Incidents Thoroughly Enough for The Rest of The Community to Defer To, already? Isn't that a natural role that many people would like to play?

Is it just that the community hasn't explicitly formed consensus that the people who're already very close to being in that role can be trusted, and forming that consensus takes a little bit of work?

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-22T08:08:09.608Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd guess there weren't as many nutcases in the average ancestral climate, as there are in modern news/rumor mills. We underestimate how often it's going to turn out that there wasn't really a reason they did those things.

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-22T08:01:03.233Z · score: 11 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've heard of Zendo and I've been looking for someone to play Eleusis with for a while heh (maybe I'll be able to get the local EA group to do it one of these days).

though insofar as they're optimized for training rationality, they won't be as fun as games optimized purely for being fun

Fun isn't a generic substance. Fun is subjective. A person's sense of fun is informed by something. If you've internalised the rationalist ethos, if your gut trusts your mind, if you know deeply that rationality is useful and that training it is important, a game that trains rationality is going to be a lot of fun for you.

This is something I see often during playtesting. The people who're quickest to give up on the game tend to be the people who don't think experimentation and hypothesising has any place in their life.


I am worried about transfer failure. I guess I need to include discussion of the themes of the game and how they apply to real world situations. Stories about wrong theories, right theories, the power of theorising, the importance of looking closely at cases that break our theories.

I need to... make sure that people can find the symmetry between the game and parts of their lives.

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-21T22:39:55.329Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you have an android phone, sure. I'll DM you a link to the apk. I should note, it's pretty brutal right now and I have not yet found a way to introduce enough primitives to the player to make really strict tests, so it's possible to guess your way all the way to the end. Consider the objective to be figure out the laws, rather than solve the puzzles.

Comment by makoyass on Should We Still Fly? · 2019-12-20T23:05:08.616Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The next question is, why aren't people buying the offsetting? I seem to remembering hearing that it was once an option in most ticket purchase processes, but it must have been an unpopular choice, because the option has disappeared and now offsetting is going to be legally mandated, but apparently the legal mandate does not require enough offsetting to be done (past discussion: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/XRTiojqqJ3wrFFZAf/can-we-really-prevent-all-warming-for-less-than-10busd-with#EbEWLtgcLQXzHjzCb )

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-20T00:52:22.170Z · score: 13 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This is probably the least important question (the answer is that some people are nuts) but also the one that I most want to see answered for some reason.

Comment by makoyass on We run the Center for Applied Rationality, AMA · 2019-12-20T00:46:58.565Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I've been developing a game. Systemically, it's about developing accurate theories. The experience of generating theories, probing specimens, firing off experiments, figuring out where the theories go wrong, and refining the theories into fully general laws of nature which are reliable enough to create perfect solutions to complex problem statements. This might make it sound complicated, but it does all of that with relatively few components. Here's a screenshot of the debug build of the game over a portion of the visual design scratchpad (ignore the bird thing, I was just doodling): https://makopool.com/fcfar.png

The rule/specimen/problemstatement is the thing on the left, the experiments/solutions that the player has tried are on the right. You can sort of see in the scratchpad that I'm planning to change how the rule is laid out to make it more central and to make the tree structure as clear as possible (although there's currently an animation where it sort of jiggles the branches in a way that I think makes structure clear, it doesn't look as good this way).

It might turn out to be something like a teaching tool. It illuminates a part of cognition that I think we're all very interested in, not just comprehension, it also tests/trains (I would love to know which) directed creative problemsolving. It seems to reliably teach how frequently and inevitably our right-seeming theories will be wrong.

Playtesting it has been... kind of profound. I'll see a playtester develop a wrong theory and I'll see directly that there's no other way it could have gone. They could not have simply chosen to reserve judgement and not be wrong. They came up with a theory that made sense given the data they'd seen, and they had to be wrong. It is now impossible for me to fall for it when I'm presented with assertions like "It's our best theory and it's only wrong 16% of the time". To coin an idiom.. you could easily hide the curvature of the earth behind an error rate that high, I know this because I've experienced watching all of my smartest friends try their best to get the truth and end up with something else instead.

The game will have to teach people to listen closely to anomalous cases and explore their borders until they find the final simple truth. People who aren't familiar with that kind of thinking tend to give up on the game very quickly. People who are familiar with that kind of thinking tend to find it very rewarding. It would be utterly impotent for me to only try to reach the group who already know most of what the game has to show them. It would be easy to do that. I really really hope I have the patience to struggle and figure out how to reach the group who does not yet understand why the game is fun, instead. It could fail to happen. I've burned out before.

My question: what do you think of that, what do you think of the witness, and would you have any suggestions as to how I could figure out whether the game has the intended effects as a teaching tool.

Comment by makoyass on When would an agent do something different as a result of believing the many worlds theory? · 2019-12-19T23:10:02.721Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No. Measure decrease is bad enough to more than outweigh the utility of the winning timelines. I can imagine some very specific variants that are essentially a technology for assigning specialist workloads to different timelines, but I don't have enough physics to detail it, myself.

Comment by makoyass on When would an agent do something different as a result of believing the many worlds theory? · 2019-12-17T22:17:26.697Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sure. The question, there, is whether we should expect there to be any powerful agents with utility functions that care about that.